It’s not every day that we come across a comedy show that manages to trick us into the unexpected reaction of shedding tears and learning life lessons – which, by the way, are not unnecessarily cheesy when it comes to Ted Lasso, but these rather sneak into our heads throughout fairly simple, cleverly written dialogues and real-life situations.

Ted Lasso is one of Apple TV+ most successful original shows, co-created and starred by American actor, writer and comedian Jason Sudeikis. Brendan Hunt and Joe Kelly are also creators of the show, with Hunt portraying one of Ted Lasso’s supporting roles, Coach Beard. It follows the story of Ted, an American college football coach who is hired by Rebecca, the owner of a football club in England who wishes to tear her ex-husband’s beloved footy team apart as a revenge move from him cheating on her.

When I talk about the success behind Ted Lasso, I’m not even referring to the Emmy Awards it achieved or the double-digit nominations, but about the generalized surprise that it has caused and the widespread acceptance it’s gotten from audiences of all kinds and backgrounds.

Of course, just like with every other (or not) acclaimed media product, there will be detractors and people who just don’t find it that appealing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, as long as it thrives to impact the right people. And speaking of impact, that word truly is one of the best I can find within my vocabulary to describe Apple TV+’s superstar show. This impression comes widely unexpectedly, and as stated by critics and fans across a number of tweets, reviews, and blog entries, nobody saw it coming.

I myself can testify that I got so emotionally invested in this series that I get chills every time I get to talk or write about it... and yes, it’s happening as we speak.

Without further ado, let’s go through the precise elements that got Ted Lasso into the pedestal that so many people have put it on today, and why.

WARNING: While spoilers will be avoided, I deeply encourage you to watch the show before continuing reading.

There are layers to everything, everywhere

If you tell me that you tried to watch Ted Lasso and immediately wanted to stop because of the non-stop dad jokes and puns, I won’t blame you. That’s fair. But trust me, there is so much more to it – and as I previously mentioned, at first you won’t see it coming.

The pilot is great, but maybe it will be by the time you’re into the second episode that you will realize Ted Lasso writers did their homework. And because of that, the show will be an exquisite experience for the film savvies, the pop-culture junkies and the football lovers. It’s so well written that you may have to watch it more than once to catch all the hidden references, the connections between random moments of the series, the visual elements that add up to the narrative and the meticulous choice of words. It’s like every single detail was carefully thought of and designed to be a perfect fit to the story.

The complexity of each character, along with each realistic background story, and even every single dialogue goes beyond the cartoonish vibe that we often get from comedy TV. These people feel authentic, and that’s one of Ted Lasso’s biggest strengths.

There’s Keely, who in many other stories would have been the blonde, dumb model who is dating a football player... and that’s it. But here, Keely happens to be one of the smartest, deepest characters of the show. She is something like the discrete link between several storylines, while being a protagonist to her own story.

There’s Coach Beard, who seems like a quiet and simple sidekick that, eventually, gets a chance to show where his tough act comes from, and that he is actually a creative genius who enjoys making other people happy and dancing randomly in unusual venues.

There’s Jamie Tart, who comes off sort of as a Cristiano Ronaldo disciple who only cares about his hair and the women he gets, but ultimately has the capacity of reading the room and making choices that will benefit the whole group instead of just himself.

And there’s Nate, who is probably the most interesting and realistic character, who has the most mind-blowing arch and whose development tells the story of so many other introverts out there.

Believe me when I say I could write a whole article for each one of the characters. There is a lot to say about them, and that speaks very clearly about the development and complexity that the writers have put into each element of this show. They deserve a standing ovation for what they’ve done here.

Kill ‘em with kindness

This is, arguably, Ted Lasso’s biggest differentiator. While it’s not the first nor the last media product to rely on the principles of kindness and positivity, it’s one of the few that has managed to absolutely kill it in that matter.

The thing with kindness is that it’s not always fun. People go to the cinema to watch conflict, endless WWII films and anything that allows them to embrace the drama that their life is lacking. Then they get home to turn on the TV and watch reality shows about attractive single youngsters flirting with each other for weeks, until they decide to get married.

For a public so used to content like that, you would expect them to reject positivity on TV. Who would want to watch a show about an American dad who sees the good in everything trying to blend into a fully British community? The premise itself sucks, as it suggests tons of nationalist American propaganda. But it couldn’t be further from that.

One thing about this series is that it introduces characters from very varied cultural backgrounds, and every culture is regarded equally yet flawed. They make sure to portray the pros and cons, making jokes that are social insights in disguise – but really, they’re not trying to prove a moral lesson or integrate themselves in the woke-selling-trend. The writers instead use sarcasm and irony to simply show how ridiculous it looks like to be a mean individual, and how heartwarming and life changing it can be when someone chooses kindness over the obvious alternative of hostility and selfishness.

The cast is spot on

Ted lasso cast

What do Game of Thrones and Ted Lasso have in common? No, I’m not talking about Hannah Waddingham screaming “shame” to Cersei Lannister and trying to put Ted Lasso through shameful situations. I’m talking about a cast stacked-up with generational talented actors who are down to earth and really get along with each other.

Not only are the acting skills a must for a performance to be believable, but the chemistry has to be real behind the scenes. It’s clear that some of the people portraying these characters have forged genuine bonds in real life, as it translates into the dynamics of the relationships between duos like Keeley and Rebecca, Rebecca and Ted, Ted and Coach Beard, Coach Beard and Roy, Roy and Keeley, and so on.

Both Hannah Waddingham (Rebecca) and Juno Temple (Keeley) have expressed their admiration and love for one another more than once, stating that they’ve become dear friends since filming Ted Lasso together.

Fun fact: You may have heard somewhere else (probably in Jimmy Kimmel’s YouTube channel) that Brett Goldstein – who plays the tough British football legend Roy Kent – was initially hired exclusively to be a part of the writers room. In his own words, he realized after finishing the writing that he had Roy Kent in him, so he sent an audition tape to the producers. The rest is history: the tale of an Emmy Award winner for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and one of Ted Lasso’s audience’s favorites.

It’s not even about football

Ted Lasso seems to be a show about football, but football is like… 5%? of the series (to be honest, that percentage seems a little bit too generous of me).

I’m a sports junkie, so I was content with the expectation of watching a TV show about football. However, I am so grateful it is not even about that. It doesn’t take too many masterminds to create a decent comedy that revolves around a team of eleven players kicking a ball; but only Sudeikis, Hunt and Kelly could have created something so hilarious yet touching as Ted Lasso.

The story thrives in proposing difficult questions through the experiences of the characters, making brilliant statements on integrity, accountability, honesty, healthy relationships, self-knowledge, the true meaning of success, and so many other things I would never finish listing.

If you don’t like football but like to watch 40 minutes episodes of wholesome content and lovable characters that may make you laugh as well as cry like a baby, this is it. Ted Lasso is meant for you.

A bold proposal that checks all the boxes

If you’re used to following the Academy Awards or any other Hollywood award ceremony, you probably have noticed by now that there are certain genres and styles that are preferred by the critics. When it comes to comedy, they don’t usually recognize the silly, sitcom type of show or movie. They tend to go for products where the humour is underneath the obvious layer, which sometimes ends up looking like pretentious content.

Ted Lasso is definitely not the player we are used to seeing take home all the glory, but it did it anyway. It could have something to do with the fact that it’s not any less of an Apple product than the iPhone, or with the fact that it showed us a refreshing new face of the same-old comedy show. Whatever the reason, it deserves all the recognition it’s gotten.

But why is that bold?

Well, who would have known that a comedy TV show with knock-knock jokes and repetitive comments about the culture clash between the United States and United Kingdom would be awarded the Outstanding Comedy Series trophy?

There has to be something else to Ted Lasso, right??? (Right, I’ve got ya).

In a way, it feels like Ted Lasso spit on Hollywood’s face and got away with it. Oddly, with Hollywood’s full consent.

Anyway, I insist it’s not the awards and nominations what makes this show so special, but the fact that they dare to touch base on such important matters without resorting to cheesy, moral guidance methods. They found ways to achieve the same result through the use of silly jokes that are accessible to anyone easy to understand – sometimes too easy, which makes it even more impressive. Less is more, isn’t it?

Gear up! Ted Lasso style, with these Amazon best sellers...

Finally, I’ll address the elephant in the room...

Just like any other acclaimed series, the success behind Ted Lasso can’t exist without the valid criticism against it. Some people argue on Twitter that they had to stop watching it because they found it too cringey. Some others questioned after season one why all the people of color performed secondary characters and all the main ones were white — and if you watched the second season you’ll know they either listened to these comments and made adjustments, or had it planned that way all along.

The thing is, season two corrects many of season one’s mistakes, and while some didn’t find it as funny as the first one, it does show an even deeper level to all the storylines within the show.

It’s nice to watch a show that not only dares to propose new ways of mixing genres while staying true to itself, but that is capable of looking at its flaws and doing better. That’s not a very common thing when it comes to big productions, so I don’t expect any less recognition to the second part of the story than what the first one received, and I’m eager – along with an apparently big fan base – to see how season three keeps surprising and transforming the audience, as well as the TV industry as we know it.

About The Author
Renata Martin

Renata Martin

Monterrey Institute of Technology

Bachelor's Degree in Communication and Digital Media
with certificates in Film Studies, Directing and Film Production

Check out my website

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